Saturday at Firefly started out overcast and humid, looking like it could rain. With the festival grounds so dusty, you almost wished it would for a few minutes to help keep the dust down as you made your way from stage to stage. Perhaps it was the energy from all the good music that kept the rain from falling over Firefly. One of the bands creating some of that good energy was Delaware’s own New Sweden who opened the Big Break Stage on Saturday. Frontman William Dobies joked, “We would like to thank the Foo Fighters for opening for us last night.” Playing their rootsy style of folk, this band is always fun to watch as they stomp their feet and send tambourines crashing to the stage floor. They had a large crowd dancing and singing along to their catchy tunes, particularly a fan favorite called “Son of a Bitch.” New Sweden also played a few songs from their new EP, Fabric Room, which was produced by Bill Moriarty. There will be an EP release show on July 11th at World Café Live at The Queen with The Lawsuits and Commonwealth Choir. With their appearance at Firefly and a new EP, New Sweden is set to launch into the national music scene.
Another one of my favorites played Saturday as well, The Weeks performed on The Forest Stage to another great crowd that was really digging the soulful southern indie rock. The Weeks even performed 2 brand new songs that everyone caught right on to, which was nice to see an audience receive new material so well. During their set, vocalist Cyle Barnes said, “Please do not be afraid to dance with the person next to you. They are here for the same reason you are.” And dance, they did. The Weeks closed with “Buttons” which builds up slowly into a rocking anthem about young love, which had everyone singing along to the very end.
I caught a few bands on Saturday that I had never seen live before, including Bad Things, MS MR, and Lucius. Before seeing Bad Things perform, I didn’t know much about them besides the fact that snowboarder Shaun White plays guitar. Out of curiosity, I checked them out and they have a great indie rock sound, reminding me at times of The Strokes. MS MR was another band I wasn’t too familiar with besides their haunting tune “Hurricane.” MS MR was fun to watch, vocalist Lizzy Plaplinger was captivating with her bright pink hair and floral bodysuit. Lucius was great in a live setting as well, building the crowd up with lots of percussion and then soothing them back down with their chilling harmonies.
Seeing Third Eye Blind on the Main Stage was a throwback to the early 2000’s, and it was great to hear those songs again. The band is currently working on a new album. Being as Saturday was the summer solstice, Stephan Jenkins encouraged everyone to greet your neighbor and say, “Happy Summer!”
Kaiser Chiefs got things going later in the afternoon with their style of British rock with a decidedly punk attitude. Frontman Ricky Wilson came to the stage and said, “We’ve come to entertain you! If we fail, they will send us back home!” Kaiser Chiefs did entertain with their hits “I Predict A Riot,” “Ruby,” and “Never Miss a Beat.”
Next up was Cage The Elephant who put on an extremely hard-rockin set that exuded energy. Frontman Matt Shultz started out in a white button down shirt which quickly became translucent with sweat. After peeling the shirt off and throwing confetti into the crowd, Shultz himself was covered in sparkles. He is a very physical performer who crowd surfed and at one point was standing on the hands of the huge crowd, singing out into the sea of people gathered at the Backyard Stage. It was also great to see guitarist Nick Bockrath of Nicos Gun on stage performing with Cage the Elephant.
Las Vegas band Imagine Dragons rocked the Main Stage with members of Cage The Elephant joining them for an incredible version of their hit “Radioactive.” Singer Dan Reynolds got the crowd pumped by banging a drum on stage and jumping around from side to side of the huge Main Stage.
The Coffeehouse Stage was jam-packed for Grouplove, who had also performed earlier in the day on the Main Stage. The band opened with a rousing version of “Tongue Tied” which set the tone for a high energy set that seemed to build up and up with each song. Vocalist Hannah Hooper asked sarcastically, “you didn’t think this was going to be an acoustic set, did you?” Grouplove even did a cover of Whitney Houston’s “I Wanna Dance With Somebody.”
Next on the Lawn Stage, one of the masters of modern rock, Beck opened his set with “Devil’s Haircut” and “Loser.” Beck is one of those artists who can pull off all different genres of music, during his set he moved from blues to rock to honky-tonk to hip-hop. “Blue Moon” was the only song I could pick out from his new album Morning Phase. But Beck did pull off a great cover of Michael Jackson’s “Billie Jean.”
Topping of Saturday night, Outkast dropped funky hip hop beats on the enormous crowd starting off with “B.O.B.” “Gasoline Dreams,” and “ATliens.” The entire mass of people had their hands in the air and sang along. It was like a throwback to my college days, hearing all those songs that I haven’t heard in so long. They came back to me like old friends at a keg party, and it was a blast! Andre 3000 greeted Firefly by saying, “We wanna thank y’all for sticking with us for 20 years!” Big Boi did a few of his songs on his own, and then 3000 came out to do a few songs on his own and had even invited a few young ladies on stage to dance along to “Hey Ya.” Outkast teamed up again for more hits and ended the show with “Roses,” “So Fresh So Clean,” “International Players Anthem,” and “The Whole World.” I was a little bit surprised to see so many people leave right away, and not call for an encore but as I walked away from the main stage I could easily understand why.
It seemed like as many people who came to see Outkast had also planned to stay late to see Pretty Lights hit the Backyard stage just after midnight. The set began with an impressive light show and you never would have known that these tens of thousands of people had been on their feet all day with how many of them were still up and dancing as Pretty Lights dropped the bass.
COMPLETE DAY 3 GALLERY